It is the first time that I would be celebrating Diwali without my family.
Well, when I say family, I mean my family pre-marriage. I got married in August this year and things have been fabulous since then. I married the love of my life of course and now share a very cozy relationship with him in a comfortable house that is shared by my new family. Diwali this year was more precious to me and my husband as we celebrated our first Diwali together after marriage..
A simple elucidation about Diwali – the festival of lights. Diwali is the quintessential Indian festival, celebrated with the same fun and fervour throughout the length and breadth of the country. In modern times, the bang of crackers resound in all the Indian states and the diyas and lamps are a must-have for all household. This celebration honors the triumph of good over evil with a lot more spiritual significance.
It is more than just celebrating Lord Ram’s victory over the evil king. But it is also to grace the inner light as well. No matter what, who and where it is celebrated, the essence of the festival remains the same – Diwali is celebrated be grateful to life, the goodness and purified soul.
The celebrations started a day early with cleaning of house and decorating it for the Diwali celebration next day. We had our own time to do some eleventh hour shopping, prepping the ambiance and even making trips to get some firecrackers, extra decorations, raw items needed for rangoli and enough of fairy lights to illuminate the entire house.
Both my MIL and FIL, set out on a frantic spree of shopping whilst I and my husband got busy with spring-cleaning and redecorating. Each one had their own set of duties and to my amazement it was really great to have a family work together to help each other. Since it was a new neighbourhood for me, I felt nostalgic visiting street corner with the temporary stages set for holding the Ramlila – a dramatic rendition of the story of the Ramayan.
As expected, Diwali was a hectic day. The basic rituals performed at my in-laws place were same as what is done at my parent’s place, however there were few additional things that I had to do as this was my first marital year. My husband was so enthusiastic to put up the lights around the house – they look so lovely and festive. Designs for Rangoli was to be in place, and put up more decorations here and there to spruce things up. All this was done in two days in time for Diwali celebration to kick in.
In the evening, I made Rangoli in front as well as inside our home. Meanwhile, my mother-in-law got ready and started decorating the Puja room. It was already evening by the time I completed my Rangoli. I had promised to cook sumptuous meal for everyone for dinner and I chose to make South Indian delicacy – Idli and Sambhar with Coconut Chutney.
Houses was decorated and we offered prayer to goddess Laxmi and then celebrated Diwali lighting oil lamps (“diyas”). Every indoor corner of the house is lit up carefully, and a large diya, bigger than usual, was kept in the temple or puja place and was guarded all night through. Few smaller ones, intricately shaped diyas were placed at every door entrance of the house. After the Diwali puja and dinner, we went to the houses of our close relatives (who stay in our neighboring houses) to seek blessings from the elders in the family.
After the puja, we all sat together for our dinner. With finger crossed, I served dinner to everyone in the family. It was awesome and the feeling of “being-at-home” is quite different at my new home unlike when you are actually at your home (my parent’s home).. the entire family.. the relatives..the neighbors.
Nothing is more pleasing than having your loved ones by your side during a joyous occasion.The sense of belongingness that they make me feel, since I got married – I have never felt as if these are new relations that I am building. It was like they are mine and I am theirs since the beginning. I thank God every single day for getting me married into such a beautiful family.
After dinner, we headed towards bursting crackers. We had a gala time bursting crackers, yet nothing could meet the feeling of “missing home” and the childhood memories of bursting crackers with my brothers. Amongst many, I missed my family too.
The excitement and fanfare gained momentum. This essentially means missing out on the entire hullabaloo, more than that, it means being away from home on the festival. Even though they would be doing their bit to cheer up their spirits, it would still feel lonely, wouldn’t it? Diwali is all about family bonding, having meals together while catching up with the reminiscing about the celebration in the past. We had a good time chatting, drinking and eating our way round the clock.
A Diwali to remember! It was a fantastic day and I had such a great time with my husband, family and friends. Happy Diwali once again!
Picture Courtesy – Nitin Gupta Pictures